A fraudulent Kickstarter campaign for the "first 100% Japanese Kobe beef jerky" was stopped minutes before successfully hitting its funding goal. If it had completed, it would have been the largest out-right scam campaign in Kickstarter history according to a report by CNNMoney.com. The campaign had already received $120,000 from 3,200 backers before it was shut down.
Suspicions started to be raised when Los Angeles-based Magnus Fun, who initiated the campaign, provided little concrete information about its operations. Kickstarter encourages certain best-practices like posting photos and videos of the organizers as well as verifiable personal information.
The article describes how the group Kickstarted, which is filming a documentary about Kickstarter, noticed certain "problems with the Kobe Red page, including discrepancies between the high cost of production and the low pledges requested from backers. The documentarians also pointed out the comments from people swearing that they'd tried and loved the jerky all came from relatively new accounts that had backed only failed projects."
Not only this but "when a Kickstarter user raised concerns in the campaign's comments section, Magnus Fun didn't really try to defend itself."
Kickstarter is a popular self-policed crowdfunding web site which has successfully raised $571 million since its inception. Its most popular campaigns to date include the OUYA Android based game console which raised $8.5 million and the Pebble e-paper watch which received $10.2 million in pledges.
Key to Kickstarter success is building trust between a campaign and its backers. Continual communication providing milestone updates, development information and explanations for delays is crucial and mandatory. This didn't happen here but fortunately the scam campaign was caught in time. It illustrates just how easy it is to fall victim to shysters looking to make a quick buck.